Day 681: How I Failed a 21K Race

June 8, the long awaited day of the half-marathon Estonian Championships. Or maybe not. I am not sure whether I was waiting for it. Indeed, the changed course got me a bit excited as there no longer was a really long strip of running back and forth and they had also included some new trails. However, I was not excited about the uphill strip that was still included or the old factory part (Krenholm). There is nothing pretty to look at. Instead, the road around the factory ruins is full of holes. One of the worst surfaces to run on.

Let´s just set the race course aside. I didn´t fail because of this. I failed because my body is not built for coping with extremely hot weather. I´m talking 30 degrees and the blazing sun. Narva seems to have curse upon it: even when the rest of the week is cold, that very Saturday heats up. Well, this time, the hot weather wasn´t a surprise, most weekdays were rather intolerable. Nevertheless, I kept hoping. The weather forecast did include thunderstorm and thunder means rain and rain means at least some relief. However, the thunder never came. Not during the race. The race day greeted us with clear skies and way too much sun. There was even no point in doing a very long warm-up. We were warm already. In the apartment we had rented, we even kept our caps and T-shirts inside the freezer before going to the starting line. Did it help? Not really, the clothes dried quickly once we were outside in the sun. Before the start, I dipped my shirt into the river. It worked… until the sun did its thing.

I wanted to step aside already less than 5 minutes into the race. My legs were heavy and I simply knew it was not going anywhere. No PB. No decent result. Many people quit. I saw them walking towards me. I wanted to do the same. Step aside, end this misery. I didn´t. Even when people started passing me, making my position even worse, I kept going. I was losing to them. But how much would I have lost if I simply quit? Much more. My one and only goal was to just cross the finish line. I tried to stop caring about the numbers, the result. Tried. Of course, I was disappointed in the end. Who wouldn´t be? I expected a bit more from myself. Even in the hot weather. 10 minutes slower than my PB? What the hell? How slow can a person be? My hot weather tolerance really is close to zero.

I drank water in the drinking stations. I poured the water on myself. Whenever there was a sprinkler, I made sure I got wet. I didn´t climb into a fountain like some people did. I never really stopped, just grabbed things on the go. Maybe I should have stopped, spent some more time drinking and getting wet. Some people who did stop later passed me… Oh, well. I was overheated, but also had shivers running over my skin. I have no idea how close to a heat stroke I was. I wasn´t doing well. I was dying, drying up slowly. Each step I took seemed worse than the last. I did cross the finish line, cried a bit, drank a lot and decided to forget that race. There will be other races. I might not be coming back to this one if the weather keeps playing its tricks.

Meanwhile… a friend was doing an ultra race. We only had 21.1 km to tackle, he, on the other hand, didn´t stop before he had reached almost 200. In this light, I feel even more like a loser.

Progress Report

Own and live in a house.

A race day very far from home + long drive home. No work progress.

Write AND publish a book.

No luck here either.

Win a major race.

A major fail.

Photo of the Day

In the morning, we were full of hope…

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